(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The Gay Genius"

HOME IN EXILE                         . 307

After his death, Kuo and Mai were frequently asked about their father's
formulas for making different kinds of wine, particularly the cinnamon
wine constantly mentioned in Su's letters and poems. The sons laughed.
"My father loved to experiment with things," said Kuo. "He tried it
i only once or twice. That cinnamon brew tasted like Tusu wine." Su
was perhaps too impatient to be a stubborn experimenter. It is alleged
that people who drank his "honey wine" made while at Huangchow
used to suffer from temporary diarrhoea.

On April 19, 1095, his female cousin died. Unfortunately her name
has not been preserved; Tungpo always referred to her as "cousin-sister"
or as "Miss Number Two" (of the Su family). It took three months
for the news to reach him in a letter from her husband. That his affec-
tion for his cousin had not decreased was shown in a letter to a relative,
written a few years earlier, when he said that he regretted not being
able to see her at Changchow on a trip. In the last year she and her
husband had apparently moved up north to Tingchow where he was
governor. Her husband, Liu Chungyuan, was a poor but honest scholar
who had not passed his examinations but was deeply interested in the
collection of paintings and calligraphy. While Su Tungpo was at the
capital, he had visited him, and Su had written and painted several
pieces for him. In a letter to Cheng Chihtsai mentioning the news of
Łus cousin's death, Su now told his relative that he "felt torn to pieces",
and he wrote to the cousin's son that he felt as if a "knife had been
thrust into his heart". Such phrases expressing sorrow were not un-
common in Chinese writing; still, they were expressions of a deeply
felt sorrow.

The sacrificial prayer to her, apparently written after receiving the
news, showed a deeply personal sentiment. It said that of all the grand-
children 'of his grandfather, only four had remained. These four were
Tungpo, Tseyu, Tse-an (son of his uncle who had stayed at home and
looked after the ancestral tomb for the brothers), and the last one, his
cousin. She was "a filial daughter and was kind-hearted and refined,
good to her mother-in-law and to her husband". Then came a more
personal note. He had hoped that her two sons would grow up to
glorify the family. "But alas, what have we done to offend the gods?
One of them did not live. I was hoping that you would live a hundred
years to see the younger generation grow up and carry life on. How
was it that in a short moment you were lying groaning in bed? All
medicine was of no avail and you passed away like a cloud. Living ten
thousand K away in a remote region, I heard the news a hundred days
after your death. Where is your coffin that I may fall on it and weep?
My tears wet the grass on the meadows. Crying aloud in the north
wind, I lift and offer this cup to you."

L